Not realizing the significance at the time, I failed to write down the official beginning day and date of what would become and continues to be the great and ongoing saga of Danny Lee Cribbs and Dawn Elizabeth Carlson. But the 40th anniversary will take place sometime in the next couple of weeks. I think.
Although we have learned a lot about one another during the course of that 40 year period, although we continue to lose track of time in conversation yet today, Danny still cannot read my mind, nor I his. It would be foolish of me to expect him to know just what I need just when I need it, although he has done just that, occasionally. Those moments of happenstance are just that, however, and are not the norm -- for our relationship nor, I suspect, for any other.
That being said, I can still embrace the chorus from the Rolling Stones song, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find, you get what you need."
I'd been needing some baby therapy for quite awhile. Mothers of significant years know exactly what I'm talking about. Recently, that need was met at my granddaughter Harley's birthday party when I got to hold her 6-month-old cousin while everyone else was busy serving cake and ice cream. Do I know how to work a party or what?
That brief encounter lead to a desire that was met before it could even be defined by a 6-year-old boy, right in between the ages of my two youngest grandchildren who have been absent for months. His energy was contagious and he is enthusiasm personified.
Apparently, someone can read my mind, knows me even better than I know myself, and is able to meet every need.
There's an old, admittedly unkind, elementary school taunt that goes something like: "You are so stupid, when they asked if you wanted brains, you thought they said pains, and you said, 'I don't want any'."
Very few of us voluntarily sign up for pain, or sorrow, or deprivation of any kind.
Oh, we occasionally try to exercise some semblance of self-control, for a season, with the hopes that doing so will somehow make us a better person; more understanding, more compassionate, more patient and more loving. For myself, it mostly means that the object that I have set aside to teach myself self control, becomes central to my thinking as I measure the days until I can pick it up again. It's not a healthy exercise for me.
In moments of rare clarity, I realize that I am not, in any way shape or form, my own best friend.
I am far too easy on me. If I were to choose my own cross, it would be simplicity itself, a small silver one on a delicate silver chain, perfect for wearing around my neck. Oh, wait, I already have several of those, none of them the least bit representative of any suffering on my part.
If I were to choose my own pain -- never mind. I can't think of any pain I would choose, whether physical or emotional. I don't like pain. (Remember, that's why I passed on brains!) I'm careful around hot stoves, with sharp knives and wear appropriate footwear when riding my bicycle because I don't like pain and I try to avoid it whenever possible.
I suppose, if it had been left up to me, I would be in the same emotional state of mind that was mine when I was say, 8 years old. When I was 8, I didn't worry about supper. I didn't worry about bathtime. I didn't worry about anyone or anything except me and whether or not I was getting my fair share. A lovely place to be, don't you agree?
I haven't been 8 for a very long time, although some may argue that I could still pass, at least emotionally if not intellectually. I'd never get a pass on that one physically.
I can't take one iota of credit for who I am today. I haven't chosen my route, I haven't chosen my trials, and I certainly haven't designed the cross I am bound to pick up daily.
The joys and the trials of my life come from the One who does know just what I need, despite my frequent cries about what I want, often accompanied by tantrums reminiscent of the terrible twos.
He has proven faithful, regardless of the mess I've made with the choices I've made, to bring beauty from the ashes, to bring good to a heart overgrown with callous, to bring just the right measure of pain, just the right measure of sorrow and just the right weight on the cross beam of my cross, to grow me. Come graduation day, otherwise known as the day I die, I hope to hear, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your master."
The student doesn't choose the lesson plan. The teacher does. So it is with us, every day, in this place in time, at this stage of life, whatever our circumstance, by faith we can know that God is growing up his children.
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons." Hebrews 12: 7 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him; together.